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Hot Rods Game Notes

June 11, 2019 - Midwest League (MWL) - Bowling Green Hot Rods News Release

The game opens a three-game set between the two clubs and serves as the final home series of the first half, with the Hot Rods up 0.5 games in the wild card.

About Yesterday... The Bowling Green Hot Rods earned a 4-0 shutout on Monday night to close out a series sweep against the West Michigan White Caps at Bowling Green Ballpark. Caleb Sampen took the mound, and while the White Caps picked up two hits in the first, Sampen worked around them to keep it scoreless through three innings. In the bottom of the third, The Hot Rods took a three-run advantage. Roberto Alvarez singled to left and Osmy Gregorio doubled to right, putting runners at second and third. Michael Smith singled up the middle with the infield playing in, scoring both runners to make it a 2-0 game. Smith was caught stealing, but Wander Franco doubled to left and scored in the next at-bat when Kaleo Johnson ripped a double down the left-field line to give the Hot Rods a 3-0 lead. Sampen pitched through the seventh inning without allowing a run, striking out six with four hits. Alvarez homered in the seventh and Nick Sprengel closed the game out, sitting down six-straight to help BG to a 4-0 shutout in the series finale.

La Bombas... Chris Betts will enter the 2019 MWL Home Run Derby at next week's All-Star festivities as part of the four-man Eastern Division team and eight-man field at Four Winds Field in South Bend, IN. Betts ranks third in the league with 11 homers behind fellow participant Niko Hulsizer of Great Lakes and Lake County Captains outfielder Will Benson, who will not participate. In 2018, Hot Rods catcher Ronaldo Hernandez won the derby at Cooley Law School Stadium, blasting 14 homers in the first round (passing Benson) en route to being crowned the king.

Spectacular Sampen... Caleb Sampen showed off why he was selected to the 2019 All-Star game on Tuesday, tossing a team-leading seventh quality start without allowing a run over seven innings for the second time this year. The righty has gone seven innings three times, but over his last four starts is holding opponents to a .213 batting average with a 1.16 WHIP and a 3.24 ERA. All of that includes a game against South Bend where he allowed five runs on eight hits on June 4.

Four Straight-- Pitching is Great.. Bowling Green has their second-longest win streak of the season behind a seven-gamer from May 22-28. The offense hasn't been great during the run, batting .218 with a homer and 18 runs scored, but the pitching has helped them through. The club is tied for second in the league in the last four games with a 2.18 ERA, issuing a league-low four walks without allowing a homer. The pitching staff's WHIP is 0.91 while they allowed a .215 batting average to West Michigan in the sweep while tossing a shutout in the series finale.

Looking at the Playoff Picture... The Hot Rods are on a four-game winning streak after the sweep of West Michigan and currently have record of 38-26, good for a .594 win percentage. The club sits in the first-half wild card spot with six-games left to play and 3.5 out of first place behind the Great Lakes Loons who have 40 wins on the season. Lake County is in third, a half-game back of the Hot Rods in the wild card race. The South Bend Cubs are the only other team in the division who haven't been eliminated and with a loss yesterday are four-games behind BG for the final first-half playoff spot.

Yesterday's Notes... Franco has a 16-game on-base streak...Alvarez collected his 16th multi-hit game and his third game with three or more hits...He homered for the first time since April 17 vs. Lake County...He also stole his first base since July 4, 2018, while laying for Princeton...Smith had multiple RBI for the fifth time...Sampen's 7.0 innings tied a career high, done three times this season...He also earned his seventh quality start, the most on the roster...The Hot Rods earned their second series sweep of the season (also May 24-27 vs. Dayton, also four games)...Bowling Green earned their fourth shutout of the season...BG improved to 30-6 when outhitting their opponents... They also are 25-11 when scoring first...Bowling Green is 15-3 in day games...The Hot Rods are 32-17 against right-handed starters...BG is 22-10 at home...Bowling Green is 12-5-2 in series this season...

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